The Dirty Dozen: The Appeal of Vintage Military Watches by Cyma

In the early 1940s, the British Ministry of Defence published specifications for the watches they would issue to their soldiers.
These specifications are commonly known as "WWW," an acronym of "Watch," "Wrist," and "Waterproof," and there were 12 companies that produced watches that met these specifications.
The twelve companies are Buren, Cyma, Eterna, Grana, IWC, Jaeger LeCoultre, Lemania, Longines, Omega, Record, Timor and Vertex, and these twelve companies are now known as "the Dirty Dozen".
However, by the time these high-performance watches with the specifications needed for combat reached the hands of British soldiers, World War II had already ended.

Cyma vintage military watches

Why Cyma military watches are so popular

Of the "Dirty Dozen," Cyma's WWW watches are one of the more popular brands.
Many manufacturers used chrome plating on the cases of their watches, which created the problem of large differences in the condition of individual watches.
However, Cima watches are made of stainless steel, and many of them are still in good condition today.
In addition, the case size excluding the crown is 38mm in diameter, the largest of the Dirty Dozen, and it is still easy to use today, which is another reason for its popularity.
The length, including the lugs, is approximately 45mm.
Moreover, despite all these popular features, Cima is also known as one of the more affordable brands in the Dirty Dozen.
While other brands' watches are relatively rare and expensive, Cima's WWW watches are available in large numbers.

Originally produced products had a matte finish on the entire case, including the bezel.
The windshield is made of acrylic and has a smooth dome shape.
Windshields like this one are very hard to come by, so you should pay close attention to the condition of the windshield.
The crown is relatively large at 6.6mm, making it easy to adjust the time.
Vintage Cyma military watch crown

Cyma vintage military watch back

The movement is the Cima caliber 234, a 15-jewel hand-wound movement, but this movement does not have a roller to absorb shock.
Cyma vintage military watch movement

The movement is covered with a soft iron dust cover, which makes it anti-magnetic.
Cyma vintage military watch dustproof

The 18mm wide lugs are soldered in place, so nylon straps are generally easier to replace.
However, there are other straps available on the market that can be attached to fixed lugs, so you may want to purchase one of those.
The black dial features Arabic numerals and an independent seconds hand at 6 o'clock.
The first watches produced used radium as a luminous paint to mark the hour and minute hands and indexes.
However, because radium is radioactive, the British Ministry of Defence replaced it with less dangerous luminous paint, and as a result, many of the remaining ones today are painted with non-radium paint.
It seems that it is difficult to find ones in good condition that still contain the original radium.

Cyma vintage military watches

Many of the dials and luminous paint are in poor condition, but with some patience you can find some that are still in good condition.
For example, the watch in the photo has a dial in good condition and uses radium as a luminous paint.
As for the price, to be honest it varies depending on the condition, seller, and website (the average price as of 2017 was around 250,000 to 450,000 yen).
Among the Dirty Dozen, Cima watches are a relatively affordable option for those looking for a vintage military watch that can still be used today.